The Lens, the Mirror and the Frame: Glasses, Good Taste and the Material Culture of Looking

Sampson, Ellen (2018) The Lens, the Mirror and the Frame: Glasses, Good Taste and the Material Culture of Looking. Luxury, 5 (2). pp. 129-150. ISSN 2051-1817

The Lens, the mirror and the frame.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (295kB) | Preview
Official URL:


This article explores the material culture of taste, examining the ways that artifacts we look with (the technologies of looking) can mediate and produce our understanding of taste. Taking a phenomenological approach to shopping and luxury it examines how processes of looking closely, of connoisseurship and distinction are bound up with the performance of good taste. Drawing on Bourdieu’s (1984a) formulation of “distinction,” it unpacks the multiple modes of vision and roles of looking necessary to perform and maintain the capital of good taste. Much has been written on the gaze in consumer societies, building upon theories of looking and desire (Mulvey 1989; Berger 1972). Whilst recent writing has often focused on screens and the subjectivity of desire (c.f. Rocamora, 2011, 2017, Pham, 2015) this article addresses ideas of taste and looking from a phenomenological and material culture perspective, utilizing the work of sociologist Bourdieu (1984a ), and phenomenologists Schilder (1935) and Merleau-Ponty (1962, 1968) to examine the embodied and bodily experience of looking with and through things.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: taste, eyewear, mirrors, looking, phenomenology, glass
Subjects: W200 Design studies
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Design
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2020 11:30
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 12:04

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics